Sobriety Navigator: Alcoholics Anonymous and overview of Step 11.
Step Eleven: “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of will for us and the power to carry that out.”
Illusions of either grandiosity or self-condemnation are second nature to the alcoholic. Our imaginations run rampant with fears and fantasy. We spend countless hours in our heads vacillating between the different scenes we want to create or fear we will create.
But ask an alcoholic to sit in quiet prayer and meditation and they will usually recoil. They will often say to themselves, “Well this is fantasy and a complete waste of time. Nobody is listening to me. This must be make believe". Or for those of us who are cynical, this whole concept of improving our conscious contact with God is a fantasy, way too good to be true.
But for millions of people in 12 step programs across the country this vital step is like a safe harbor. It anchors us, keeps us grounded and keeps us cognizant of our human limitations as well as our human potential.
Here are some recommended prayers used by millions in 12 step program. This prayer is recommended before taking the 3rd Step. It brings such clarity, comfort and purpose that many people use it on a daily basis.
“God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will, always!”
(Alcoholics Anonymous The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism – Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Fifth Printing – 1978)
Here is one that reinforces us as we progress through the 12 steps.
“Lord, make me a channel of thy peace – that where there is hatred, I may bring love – that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness – that where there is discord, I may bring harmony – that where there is error, I may bring truth – that where there is doubt, I may bring faith – that where there is despair, I may bring hope – that where there are shadows, I may bring light – that where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted – to understand, than to be understood – to love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life. Amen.”
(Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. from the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, Tenth Printing 1979)
And of course let’s not forget the Serenity Prayer:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Originally an untitled prayer by the Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr and adopted by (Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.)